Kenya set to sign energy charter treaty

The Government of Kenya is expected to attend Energy Charter Conference in Japan scheduled later in the year as an observer before it assents to the Energy Charter Treaty.

The confirmation was made Friday during deliberations held on the sidelines of the on-going Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) between the Secretary General of the Brussels Energy Charter Secretariat, Ambassador Urban Rusnak and Kenyan Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai.

According to the Secretary General of the Energy Secretariat, Ambassador Rusnak, the charter seeks to enhance the rule of law in the energy sector while offering countries a multilateral platform to address challenges such as access to modern energy and energy poverty reduction.

Ambassador Rusnak further stated, “The Treaty allows for consistent rules of investment promotion and protection while also providing a long term interface between investors and host countries through the establishment of binding rules that streamline the investment environment.”

“With increased investment in Africa and as a government, we are reassuring foreign private investors’ capital that investing in Kenya and Africa is viable. It is important to realize that the key to unlocking Africa’s investment potential in the sector is the Energy Charter that will be reviewed to consider Kenya’s greatest interests,” stated the Attorney General.

According to the International Energy Charter 2015, the signatories underline the importance of access to sustainable, modern, affordable and cleaner energy especially for developing countries which would lead to energy poverty alleviation. The signatories further confirmed to strengthen cooperation and support initiatives and partnerships that were conducive to these goals.

The International Energy Charter was adopted and signed at The Hague, Netherlands in May 2015. Kenya is expected to attend as an observer the Energy Charter Conference scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan in November 2016. Japan currently holds the Chairmanship of the Energy Charter Conference with Georgia and Kazakhstan having held the seat in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

The objectives of the Energy Charter include development of trade in energy and energy resources allowing for access to national, regional and international markets and enhanced cooperation with various partners in the energy sector including exchange of technology information and skill.

Kenya is particularly keen on the prospecting, production of oil and oil products, natural gas and nuclear energy while developing its infrastructure for the processing and transportation of these such as high voltage power lines, pipelines and refineries. It is also keen in the prospecting and production of coal with huge deposits having been discovered in Eastern and the Coastal regions of the country.

The concern for renewable energy sources and sustainable energy as well as the transfer of technology and encouragement of innovations remain pertinent concerns of the Government of Kenya. There is also increased demand for sustainable development with proper access to modern services, energy poverty reduction, and promotion of green economy and adoption of clean energy.

The Energy Charter underscores the need for energy security, economic protection and environmental protection while ensuring that countries achieve sustainable development.

Major problems relating to the energy security include but are not limited to safety of industrial plants, including nuclear facilities as well as protecting the environment from degradation and pollution emanating from energy activities.

The Energy Charter Conference, an inter-governmental organization, is the governing and decision-making body for the Energy Charter process, and was established by the 1994 Energy Charter Treaty.

Source: Kenya News Agency.